Hakusanroku Journal 白山麓ジャーナル:Engineering Design

November 1, 2018 Fighting Robots

Hello, it's Jonathan the camera guy. Today, I would like to introduce this week's activity in the Engineering Design class. You can read more about Engineering Design here. It is the course where students use design thinking and engineering skills to make things for society. This week, we are building robots using Lego Mindstorms. Lego Mindstorms is a platform for robots that can be programmed and built using Lego blocks, motors, gears, sensors, tires, etc.

This week's Engineering Design class was divided into two parts. In the first part, students were given a list of challenges to program their robot; such as "turn exactly 90 degrees", "move forward and bring back a box" or "move along a fixed path." Mindstorms has a visualized programming interface, and users can program their robot simply by connecting orders on a computer and uploading them to the robot. Students could do the challenges in any order they wished. There was much trial and error. However, students completed the challenges one by one thanks to Mindstorms' user-friendly interface.

Mindstorms' interface is visually intuitive

The second part was more interactive. The goal was to build and program a robot to fight Sumo wrestling style. Students were given 45 minutes to build and program their robot. Afterwards, they would hold a single elimination tournament. Students quickly began preparing their robots for battle. Many students added weapons to the front, while some worked on reworking the tires. 45 minutes passed in no time, and many students rushed to finish up their programs. Students could not control the robots after the battle started and they had to predict and program their robots as best they could. Students completed their robots and the tournament began.

Student working on robot

It was interesting to see the individual strategies each student came up with for exterior and movement. Some students programmed their robot to advance forward, while others took a more "clever" approach and programmed their robot to back off to the side and flank the opponent. You can see a couple of the battles in the video below. As you can see, things do not always go as planned. The robot that won the tournament looks innocent without any added weaponry. However, its secret is in the tire mechanism. The builder explained that working with the gear ratio of the motor and tires, he was able to create a robot that moves slow but powerfully. After the tournament, students gave a presentation on their robot and about what they would do differently next time.

I asked the students about the class and many answered that they enjoyed it. It was an intense schedule, but a fulfilling one. Ogawa sensei, who is in charge of the class, explained that Mindstorms is a perfect way to prepare students for more complex programming and robot building in the future. This technology can be utilized to create robots for manufacturing lines, rescue robots, etc. in the future. There is a distinct muscle in the brain for programming robots the way you wish them to move and I believe this class was a fun and effective way to tap into that field. Thanks for watching. See you next time.


2018年11月1日 戦うロボット

こんにちは、ジョナサンです。今日は今週のエンジニアリングデザインの授業内容を紹介したいと思います。エンジニアリングデザインは学生がデザインシンキングや、ものづくりの技術を使って社会に役に立つものを作ることを学ぶ科目です。今週はLEGO Mindstormsを使ってロボットの製作をしました。LEGO Mindstormsはロボットのプラットフォームで、ブロック、モーター、ギア、センサー、車輪などを使ってロボットを組み立て、プログラミングを使って動かすことができます。





July 9, 2018

Matsushita from the science and technology department here. Today, I would like to give you a brief look into our Engineering Design class. The first semester is ending; and students are working actively to finish their project.
Since the second half of this semester, students are working in groups of three. First, they discussed inconveniences and problems within their studies, everyday life, and methods of communication. Next, they designed ways to solve them.
Now, students are creating prototypes of their solution. Not only do they use paper, pens, tape and magnets to create simple prototypes, but different tools and material such as the handsaw for woodwork, 3D printer, sticker cutting, compact motherboards and sensors to realize their ideas. In addition to what they learned in the class, they are applying knowledge and skill that they have accumulated from Compute Skills, afterschool activities, and personal projects. However, this knowledge and skill is never enough. During the process, there are many mistakes and things they do not know yet. When this happens, students revise their strategy by asking teachers or learning from trial-and-error. That is the spirit of conscious prototyping.
I am very excited for the final presentation where they will display their creation/user experience.

Omihito Matsushita



May 7, 2018

Learning to process metal

In today's Engineering Design, we learned how to use some of the tools for prototyping. Making a prototype is an important process in the problem-solving process. The class was divided into two groups. One group learned how to use the 3D printer, while the other group learned how to process metal in the Maker Studio. Students used the handsaw, drill, and many other tools to make the final product in picture three. Then, we connected all the metal tablets into a chain. The chain would not work if any of the tablets were manufactured incorrectly. However, as you can see in picture four, they were a perfect match! It's nice to have an end result that you can see and feel good about after all that hard work. I hope to show you more of the 3D printer group in the future. Stay tune.

Jonathan April 26, 2018

April 19th, 2018

Today we learned how to use the laser cutter in “Engineering Design IA”.

Today’s mission was to design our own original keychain. First, we designed the keychain using an illustration software in the Compute Lab. Then, we moved to the Maker Studio where the laser cutter cutout the shape we designed. Students can use the Maker Studio to make whatever we want under teacher’s supervision. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone makes in the future. See you next time.



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